Custer: The Life of General George Armstrong Custer

Custer: The Life of General George Armstrong Custer

Custer: The Life of General George Armstrong Custer

Custer: The Life of General George Armstrong Custer

Excerpt

Personal antagonisms may start at first sight. Certainly squareheaded, short-necked, stocky Reno, with his straight hair, steady eyes and determined jaw, was very different from lean, limber, curly-topped Custer, the country boy who stood in the road below him, laughing--always laughing, as his father did, even at jokes on himself.

On the veranda among the resplendent cadets Custer could see women, sure enough: apple-cheeked young ladies in crinolines, more magnificent than he ever beheld in Monroe or New Rumley. But to make matters really embarrassing, almost nobody paid any attention to the shabby newcomers with their dusty boots and carpetbags. The lacies and their escorts who did look at them seemed to enjoy the boys' discomfort. A cadet who had been friendly on the boat would be aloof and haughty here, staring through the new arrivals as though they did not exist.

So this was the army! Perhaps a fellow might be better off studying for the law.

2 Fanny's Probation

THE DISCONSOLATE GROUP OF BOYS STANDING IN THE ROAD WITH THEIR baggage heard a voice which seemed to have authority. It told them to report to the adjutant in the library, over yonder across "the Plain." The boys trudged away. They saw, over the green parade, a border of elms, and above the treetops a line of stone barracks, castellated walls, turreted towers. At the west end of the Plain, at the foot of a wooded mountain slope, stood the officers' and teachers' homes, small two-story houses with steep-pitched roofs shading narrow porches, called "stoops" by the Hudson River Dutch.

The gawky youths, lugging their baggage, timidly climbed the library steps and entered the big front door. "Is the adjutant at home? . . ."

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